Thanksgiving Traditions

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite times of year. It’s a time to relax and spend much needed time with family, friends and loved ones. If you’re like me, my family has many traditions that we celebrate. Every year I have enjoyed these traditions but never truly thought about where they came from. Well this year, I decided to dive into a few of the many traditions my family celebrates.

Thanksgiving as a National Holiday:

I have never really considered why we celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s just always been around since I was a kid. After looking into it, it seems that Thanksgiving has been celebrated on and off by various presidents since George Washington. The day has shifted multiple times from president to president, until Abraham Lincoln. Thanksgiving officially became a national holiday in 1863 when President Lincoln declared it to be the last Thursday in November. Until FDR became president and attempted to make a new tradition.  In 1939, FDR declared that Thanksgiving should be November 23rd (the 2nd to last Thursday that year) going forward. However, it didn’t go over well and people resisted the change by continuing to celebrate on the last Thursday of the month.

Eating Turkey:

Why do we eat turkey on Thanksgiving instead of beef, duck or lamb? This is an interesting one, especially since the pilgrims probably didn’t have turkey for the first Thanksgiving. Many historians agree that there were wild turkeys in the Plymouth area, however it is unlikely that this is the reason why we celebrate with turkey. The real reason turkeys became a thanksgiving tradition is because of word of mouth. People began celebrating with turkey and overtime enough people were doing it that it became the norm. Now, around 90% of Americans celebrate Thanksgiving with turkey.

Breaking of the Wishbone:

If you are anything like my family, the debate over who gets the wishbone has been a big tradition in my family. This Thanksgiving tradition goes way back to the Etruscans. The Etruscans were an Italian civilization that praised birds and believed they were oracles that revealed prophecies. The Etruscans used to perform rituals with birds. After these rituals, they would leave the bones out to dry and the most desired bone was the wishbone. It was believed that whomever broke the wishbone would receive whatever they desired for that year. Hopefully I get it this year!

Football as a Thanksgiving Tradition:

This is one of my favorite traditions, watching American Football! This was originally started by the Detroit Lions back in 1934. The Lions presented the idea to NBC who agreed to it, and that year they aired the first ever Thanksgiving Day game between the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears. The idea stuck and more teams joined making it the Thanksgiving tradition that I enjoy today.

Despite all of these incredible traditions, this time of year isn’t about turkey, wishbones, or even football. This is a time where we come together to celebrate with our loved ones, and be thankful for all that we hold dear. I enjoy this holiday, because in this fast-paced world we rarely get the time to celebrate and truly enjoy the company of those we love. So, from myself and all of us at Vortec, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and hope you get to enjoy your time with loved ones.

P.S. Please share with us any family traditions that you will be doing this Thanksgiving, we would love to hear about them!


Steve Broerman

Application Engineer


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